Whether you are just beginning at the idea stage or are ready to launch a startup company, there is a wide range of education and training available to help you on the path to success at every step of the way. Check the Innovate calendar to find upcoming education & training programs.
This page primarily lists non-credit programming. To explore the range of UW–Madison academic programming related to entrepreneurship, consult guide.wisc.edu.
Classes and Workshops
The eight-week Biz Smart Training for Entrepreneurs Class includes an overview of the business areas crucial to planning and running your business. This program is meant for entrepreneurs who are just starting out, need a refresher of the business basics or need to update or write a business plan.
The University of Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research TURBO program helps food-based businesses develop their ideas through technical assistance, business planning, regulatory, and financial resources.
The Department of Food Science and the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research collaborate to offer multiple short courses to benefit learners in today’s food industry. Course topics include milk pasteurization, cheese processing, dairy ingredient utilization, sanitation techniques and ice cream making.
This center offers a variety of short courses, such as the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers and the Wisconsin School for Beginning Market Growers, as well as the Sustainable Agriculture Curriculum.
Innovation to Market is a five-week course for UW–Madison faculty, staff or students that are just getting started with an innovation. Participants learn how to avoid one of the main reasons startups fail: building something nobody wants. Minimizing this risk involves getting out of the lab and going out into the field to interview real people to refine what’s known as product-market fit.
This multi-week series helps individuals interested in starting a company or being more effective at driving change within a larger organization. The Innovation Roadmap Workshop Series provides hands-on instruction and practice about how to take a concept from idea to reality. The series consists of eight workshops, each of which help demystify aspects of developing a successful business plan. Topics include identifying a value proposition, building a financial model, crafting a pitch deck, and more.
The primary objective of the eight-week Igniter course is to help position teams to be able to successfully launch a startup company. During the course, teams work on creating and validating a viable business model, refining everything from distribution channels & partners to key activities and milestones. Successful igniter teams may qualify for funding to help them continue advancing toward the launch phase.
The Morgridge Entrepreneurial Bootcamp (MEB) is a one-week intensive training program in technology entrepreneurship for graduate students in the sciences, technology, engineering, and math. MEB students work with case analyses, lectures, expert panels, and exercises in market assessments and participate in lively social events.
SBIR Ready helps graduate/doctoral students and early-career scientists get introduced to federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Successful teams qualify for grant funding to complete market research at the completion of the program. Offered once annually beginning in late May or early June. Applications due in March.
SBIR Advance provides up to $10,000 in state match funding, training, and other resources to incorporated Wisconsin startups to advance the commercialization of technology funded by Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer grants. The program fills critical funding gaps for activities such as market research, customer validation, patent development, business model development, and regulatory assessment restricted under federal awards.
UpStart is a free multi-week program for women and people of color. The course covers a range of topics including customer segmentation, marketing and public relations, legal issues, accounting and taxes, business planning, and more.
Talks and Conferences
The Weinert Center for Entrepreneurship offers a weekly Distinguished Entrepreneurs Lunch program where local entrepreneurs tell their unique story and answer questions from students on the UW campus. The sessions take place over the lunch hour and are held most Wednesdays during the fall and spring semesters
The Early Stage Symposium is one of the Midwest’s oldest and largest events for young companies seeking angel and venture capital investments. Held annually in November.
Entrepreneurons brings together thought leaders to exchange perspectives on core topics ranging from identifying an opportunity to building a startup team to financing and beyond. Attendance is free and open to campus and the broader community.
WARF's Essential Topics series explores timely topics with a campus audience. Presentations have covered updates on relevant legislation such as the America Invents Act; others have featured campus researchers talking about novel discoveries and much more.
The Forward Festival is Madison’s flagship technology and entrepreneurship festival. Since starting in 2010, it now attracts over 5,000 attendees and includes 8 full days packed with 40+ events organized by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs. Held annually in August.
Held annually in the fall, Innovation Day combines quick pitches from WARF Accelerator, WARF’s annual Innovation Awards that feature promising UW–Madison technologies disclosed to WARF during the year, and a keynote speaker.
Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas and then it's a 54-hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.
The two-day Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference is one of the Midwest’s premiere hands-on events for entrepreneurs of all ages and experience levels. Attendees are entrepreneurs covering a broad span of categories, from information technology to cleantech, from advanced manufacturing to the life sciences, and from business services to consulting. Governor’s Business Plan Competition winners announced at this event. Held annually in June.
The Wisconsin Entrepreneurship Showcase Event includes presentations from distinguished speakers and opportunities to network with local entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and experts in entrepreneurship. Held annually in fall semester.
The Spring Tech Kickoff celebrates the start to Madison's event season. Entrepreneurs, startups, and technology businesses gather to celebrate the accomplishments from the year before and the events in the year ahead. Local food and beverages are served and the event takes place in a new venue each year to highlight entrepreneurial resources in Madison. Presented by Capital Entrepreneurs, Horizon Coworking, and the Forward Festival.